Joe Manchin Avoids Describing Himself as a Democrat Still

Ryan Morgan
By Ryan Morgan
February 28, 2023Politics
Joe Manchin Avoids Describing Himself as a Democrat Still
Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) makes a statement in the Senate TV Studio on Capitol Hill on Nov. 1, 2021. (Pete Marovich/Getty Images)

West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) gave an elusive answer when he was recently asked about his loyalty to the Democratic Party.

Manchin, who is a Democratic senator in one of the most Republican states in the country, has repeatedly cast himself as a moderate or a centrist in his party and has occasionally opposed President Joe Biden and other Democratic party leaders.

Though he has been at odds with members of his own party, Manchin recently said he had no intentions of leaving the party. Manchin’s comments in a recent interview with Fox News, however, have raised questions about his continued support for the Democratic Party.

During the interview, Fox Business host Maria Bartiromo asked Manchin about his plans going forward for his political career, including a potential presidential run.

“My main concern is how do we bring this country together? How do we make it work?” Manchin replied. “How do we make Democrats, Republicans, become Americans again, and not just party affiliates?”

Bartiromo then asked if Manchin still identified as a Democrat.

“I identify as an American,” Manchin responded. “I’m an American through and through.”

NTD News reached out to Manchin’s office for comment, but did not receive a response before this article was published.

Past Comments

Manchin’s comments on Fox News were not the first time he has avoided indicating loyalty to the Democratic Party. In an interview with NBC last month, host Chuck Todd repeatedly asked if Manchin had plans to run again, either as a senator or for another office, under a Democratic party ticket.

“If you run in office in 2024, are you going to run as a Democrat?” Todd asked.

“Chuck, I haven’t made a decision [about] what I’m going to do in 2024,” Manchin replied.

Moments later, Todd asked if Manchin would consider a presidential run and “is that something you would do outside the Democratic Party?”

“The only thing I can tell you is, whatever I can—when I make my decision—what I think is the best that I can support and represent the people of West Virginia but also be true to this country and the constitution of this country,” Manchin said.

Todd also asked if Manchin would support Biden if he ran for reelection in 2024.

“I haven’t decided on anything I’m going to do until I see what the lay of the land is going to be at that time, because this country needs to unite, we need to come back together,” Manchin said.

Manchin went on to say Biden has “done a good job” in several areas but has also “been pulled to the left too far and I think I’ve told him that, I’ve been up front with that.”

In December, after Sen. Kyrsten Sinema officially switched from Democratic Party loyalty to an independent affiliation, Manchin said he had no immediate intention to leave the Democratic Party, but did not rule out the possibility that he could change his mind in the future.

“I’ll look at all of these things, I’ve always looked all these things but I have no intention of doing anything right now,” Manchin told reporters on Dec. 12. “Whether I do something later, I can’t tell you what the future’s going to bring. I can only tell you where I am and my mindset.”

Political Pressure

Manchin has found himself at odds with the rest of the Democratic Party on several occasions in recent history.

In September of 2021, Manchin opposed a Democratic proposal for a $3.5 trillion bill to fund several items on Biden’s political agenda. In January of last year, Manchin and Sinema opposed a Democrat-led effort to end the Senate filibuster, leading some Democrats to accuse the two senators of preserving a “racist tool” and standing opposed to black Americans and other minority communities.

In a July 2022 incident, Manchin declined to endorse Democrats maintaining their majorities in the House and Senate in the 2022 midterms. The day before the 2022 midterm elections, Manchin also accused Biden of being “cavalier about the loss of coal jobs” in the U.S. and demanded Biden apologize to coal workers.

In addition to friction with fellow Democrats, Manchin could face difficult odds against Republican challengers in a 2024 election scenario. A recent Morning Consult poll found that Republican West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice, who’s reportedly considering a Senate run, holds a 24-point advantage over Manchin in their respective approval ratings.

ntd newsletter icon
Sign up for NTD Daily
What you need to know, summarized in one email.
Stay informed with accurate news you can trust.
By registering for the newsletter, you agree to the Privacy Policy.